Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we have the second and last batch of Joe Dickinson’s photos from Peru (the first batch is here). Joe’s notes and IDs are indented.

I continue with more monkey business.  Same species (and individuals) as at the end of the previous post.

The wooly monkey (genus Lagothrix):

I include this shot just to show how close we were able to get.  We were in one of the small skiffs used for side trips from the main river boat.

Spider monkey (genus Ateles):

I believe this is a grey throated (or dark throated) hawk, but I can’t find anything more specific.  They were quite common.

Not strictly wildlife (or a great photo), but we visited a manatee rescue center where we were able to see that rare animal (Trichechus inunguis).  You can see the horizontally flattened paddle-like tail.  As with whale flukes, this clearly is used in vertical propulsion strokes rather than side to side like fish. This reflects the fact that aquatic mammals are derived from land mammals that flexed the spine up and down when running.

Also not really wild, guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) are raised as food.  Some in our group gave it a try, but I can’t get past a passage in a travel memoir that I read years ago describing a guinea pig roasted whole as looking like “the victim of a forest fire”.

This chinchilla  (Chinchilla lanigera, I think) was living in a somewhat lower class ancient Inca house (judging from the rather crudely fitted stonework compared to the extraordinary work on things like temples and some higher class houses).

Also probably not wild, these alpacas (Vicugna pacos) were wandering free near one of the Inca sites we visited.

And this alpaca clearly is not wild, but very cute.

And a llama (Lama glama), wild or domestic I don’t know, wandered by in time to give me an excuse for including Machu Picchu in a set of purported wildlife photos.

And another “ringer” just because I really like this photo.  This is at Otavalo, Ecuador, photographed during a post trip excursion connected to a visit to the Galapagos a few years ago.


  1. Desnes Diev
    Posted December 19, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    “This chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera, I think”

    I think it is a viscacha (Lagidium viscacia), another Chinchillidae. Its fur is different from that of a chinchilla, and the body is less round.

  2. Paul Matthews
    Posted December 19, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the photos!

    The hawk is a black-collared hawk (Busarellus nigriciollis). This is a bird I really want to see, as I find them very attractive. I did see some years ago in Venezuela but I didn’t know my tropical American birds back then and it was all rather overwhelming. I did not see any when we were in Peru in 2012. I guess we weren’t in the right place. I’m going to Costa Rica in about a month but this species is very uncommon and with a restricted range there, so I don’t expect I’ll find any.

    The guinea pig, or “cuy” as it’s known in Peru, is certainly a major food item there. French-speaking readers will understand that some francophones are turned off for other reasons: the French word “couilles” is pronounced almost identically.

  3. TJR
    Posted December 19, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Brings back excellent memories of my own trip to Machu Picchu about 15 years ago. The llamas wandering around in the ruins just made it perfect.

    Also reminds me of looking into a room in a farm outbuilding and seeing a load of guinea pigs ……. and a large cooking pot.

  4. merilee
    Posted December 19, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Lovely pics, Joe🐾🐾

  5. Posted December 19, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    The ‘chinchilla’ is indeed what is now known as a Southern Viscacha (Lagidium viscacia)(often called Mountain Viscacha). Sight of a wild chinchilla would really be something special.

  6. Dominic
    Posted December 19, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I thought all lamas are domestic, like camels???

    • Dominic
      Posted December 19, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      …likewise alpacas…???

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted December 19, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Wild: Vicuña, domesticated: Alpaca
        Wild: Guanaco, domesticated: Llama
        (Plz correct me if I’m mistaken, this is secondary school knowledge of long ago)
        Note that Llamas and Alpacas can interbreed, but their offspring appears basically sterile. I do not know if Guanacos and Vicuñas ‘do the deed’ in the wild.

        • Joe Dickinson
          Posted December 19, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          Your correct all the way down the line according to what I see on wikipedia. Thanks for the clarification.

  7. rickflick
    Posted December 19, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The monkeys remind me of some we saw in Panama. I think they were capuchin. Such athletes!

  8. Joe Dickinson
    Posted December 19, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I count on Jerry’s exceptionally knowledgeable readers to fill in gaps and fix mistakes. Thanks.

  9. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted December 19, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    The woolly monkeys (Lagothrix) are very closely related to the Muriquis (Brachyteles). Do they also have the Bonobo-like sexual tolerance the Muriquis are known for?
    I would like to find out whether they also have this female bonding and these coalitions that Bonobos have, or is there a different mechanism?
    What a beautiful and attractive monkey!

  10. Posted December 19, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Those are wonderful Woolly Monkey pictures. They are big chunks of meat, so in most places where there are humans, this speices is one of the most heavily hunted, and the survivors become very shy. You must have been in a very wild or very well-controlled place!

    • Posted December 19, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink


    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted December 19, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes Lou, that is a great problem. Basically:
      1 – Tribes that are more or less dependent on “bush meat”,
      2 – Traditionalists (or just ‘trendy’ slickers) in the cities that insist (with good reason, I guess) that ‘bush meat’ tastes so much better,
      3 – Road builders, loggers and truck drivers into the forest, who couldn’t care less.

      The problem is of course not limited to Peru/Brazil/Amazonia, it is nearly everywhere, worldwide.
      It really is an uphill battle, but uphill battles have been won….

  11. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted December 19, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Since the Wooly Monkey brought us to sex, I think our basically dorsoventral copulation movements stem from the same source as the dorsoventral propulsion in manatees and cetacea.

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted December 19, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I’m trying to imagine how lateral copulatory movements like the propulsion of a fish would work. I guess we’d need significant re-alignment of the sexual organs. 🙂

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted December 19, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Have you ever seen sharks copulate? Lots of movement, but nor much dorsoventral. 🙂
        The dorsoventral copulation movement may sound a bit fanciful, buy I’m serious it is probably true.

      • Posted December 19, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Fish humping is from side to side. See

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted December 19, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          Thank you Mark, that video clearly shows that the non-tetrapods do not mate with dorsoventral movements.
          What it does not show is that we mammals do. Some more videos required? (No. I’m, not going to link to Pornhub or so. 🙂 )

  12. Posted December 19, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I always love your work, Joe!

  13. Andrea Kenner
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    That woolly monkey is incredibly buff! His arms put Popeye’s to shame!

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